Spring Cheek Picks: Blushes, Bronzers and Highlights

It's been a hot minute since I last blogged but I haven't forgotten about this space! It weighs on my mind quite frequently that I haven't been as "good" of a blogger recently. The excuse is pretty much the same as always - life. I also haven't been wearing as much makeup as I used to and when I do, I reach for things I know will work.

Anyway, my long-winded excuses for my absence could be a whole separate blog post. Today I swatching some of the blushes, bronzers and highlights that have been gracing my cheeks recently. Some of these are old standbys and others haven't been featured on the blog yet so it's a nice mix of what has stood the test of time for me as well as a way for me to review some of my newer acquisitions. Most of these are on the higher end of the beauty spectrum but there are a couple of affordable loves too.

Highlight is one of the things I neglect the most (along with lip color) when I'm getting ready in a rush. But when I make time for it, I see a huge difference and I think to myself that I should wear it more often. The Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer in 001 was something I wanted since the first limited edition release but I waited until last year's year-end VIB $20 off coupon before purchasing it. It's stunning both in the compact and on the cheekbones. It has a lovely ever-so-slightly-peach champagne sheen that is so unique. It's pigmented but not frosty at all on the skin. I like to apply it with my Wayne Goss fan brush. 

The highlighter in the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow is similar in base color to the Dior highlighter but with less shimmer. Whereas the Dior one has a gelee texture, the Charlotte Tilbury one has a regular powder formulation. It's a pretty highlighter but not one I specifically reach for - I mostly use it if I'm grabbing for the contour shade in the palette. I'll get to that in a bit. 

The last highlighter is also in a contour/highlight duo and it's the Kevyn Aucoin The Creamy Glow Duo in Sculpting Candlelight. This cream highlight is very subtle and reminds me of RMS' Living Luminizer. The Living Luminizer is a cult favorite but it's just too subtle for me. I like a lot of glow if I'm going to take the time to apply a highlight. Again, I really only reach for this if I'm using the contour in the duo (and even then, I usually skip the highlight entirely or reach for another one). 

I find myself reaching for bronzers and contours more often than highlighters because it slims down my face. I've gained quite a few pounds over the last couple of months and chiseling out some cheekbones gives instant satisfaction (for the record, I have been exercising a lot more though). The Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow bronzer, or should I say "sculpt", is nice. That's it. Just nice. I'm not sure what I was expecting from a $68 bronzer and highlighter but I don't consider this an amazing holy grail product. The bronzer is a good color for when I'm more fair because it doesn't pull orange and I think I can still get away with using it in the summer to deepen my tan. There is shimmer in the powder but it doesn't translate obviously on the skin. I must admit the packaging for this product is beautiful and perfectly functional. The rose gold casing is classy and the mirror is a great size for makeup application on the go.

A contour I do happen to love is the one from the Kevyn Aucoin The Creamy Glow Duo in Sculpting Candlelight. It's teeny tiny but a little goes a long way. I've had this for awhile and have used it many times but only just hit pan on this the other day. This cream blends out so easily with a duo fiber stippling brush and is the perfect contour shade that doesn't look too warm or cool. I bought the Kevyn Aucoin Contour Book The Art of Sculpting + Defining Volume II (bleh what a long name) during the VIB sale last year and haven't really touched it yet. But once I use up this small duo, I think the contour book will be a staple on my vanity. It's a phenomenal value and I think it's now permanent at Sephora so definitely check it out. 

Last up in the bronzer category is the Physician's Formula Butter Bronzer which seemed like a big hit in the beauty blogging/YouTube community. I debated on getting this because I heard the scent is very strong (and it is) but ultimately my curiosity around the buttery formula won me over. It is a very dense, almost creamy-feeling powder and I like this a lot. The shade I got is called Bronze, which is the darker of the two options. The other shade is called Light Bronze, though both are quite light already.... All in all, it's a great budget option. I always wait for a BOGO Physicians Formula deal because they have some of the highest prices in the drugstore. 

Maybe all the cherry blossom photos I've been seeing on Instagram influenced my blush selection. All three of these scream girly and spring to me but I think these shades generally look nice year-round. First up is a newer blush in my collection: Laura Geller's Baked Blush in Bora Bora. This is the prettiest cotton candy baby pink that has the tiniest hint of warmth to it that makes it wearable on my skin tone. The pastel shade gives a nice pop of radiance to my cheeks and the shimmer isn't too garish. I really like Laura Geller's baked powders and would be tempted to collect many more if I was more drawn to the packaging (the black plastic compact is functional but it's simply not cute, sleek or luxe.

I believe I've featured the Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle in Fig/Opal in a couple of travel makeup bag posts and it's one of those things I have to consciously try to not bring on vacation for the sake of switching things up. In the end I've given up on that notion because this little pot of blushing goodness is coming with me in a few days' time to Tulum. This is one of the few cream cheek products I can apply with my fingers and not feel like I need a brush. The color is subtle enough to not look overdone but it gives me some extra dimension. The packaging is also super compact and looks clean and chic without unnecessary frills. Sadly, I think these have been discontinued so I'll have to look for a new favorite once I run out of this or when this one goes bad (hopefully the former).

Another drugstore gem is the Milani Powder Blush in Tea Rose. I was very late to hop on the Milani rose blush bandwagon but look how pretty these are! The presentation is so nice, especially considering these are only a few dollars. This is an entirely matte blush that swatches quite patchy on your arm but they go onto the cheeks very nicely with a brush. The best thing about this blush formula is the longevity. This color stays vibrant on my cheeks from morning 'til the end of a long work day. The one complaint I have about this blush is the smell - it smells like old lady makeup.... I've read a couple of reviews that say the same thing but so far, it doesn't seem like this blush has gone past its expiration date. The smell doesn't bother me as long as I don't purposely sniff the blush directly so I can get past this one gripe.

Of course with dozens of blushes, bronzers and highlighters in my collection to choose from, I won't be limiting myself to just these few. These are just ones that have been rotating through my vanity recently and ones I wanted to give you my two cents on. Perhaps in a couple of months I'll share a few picks for the summer time!


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